The East Kootenay MLA insists changes announced to the Agricultural Land Reserve will benefit local farmers.
Bill Bennett says putting the Kootenays in a new class will provide farmers and ranchers with more flexibility.
He says those who wanted to process their product often couldn’t get permission to build a small plant on-site, but will be able to now.
Bennett adds regional panels will be able to consider economic and community interests in making decisions.
But critics respond that opening land up for development threatens agriculture.